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How to Say “Teacher” in Chinese? 老师 Laoshi, 教师 Jiaoshi, 导师 Daoshi in Mandarin

一日为师,终身为父



How to Say Teacher in Chinese?

There are a few ways to call Teacher in Chinese. The most well-known name is 老师 Lǎoshī because it is a generic name for any field of studies. However, it is always good to be aware of a few terms of Teacher in Mandarin other than 老师 Lǎoshī.

Recommended Reading: How to Say “Teach” and “Teaching” in Chinese, forming sentences with the Mandarin verbs and nouns.

Here is a little more information on the respect level in Chinese culture for teachers. A teacher is a very respected figure, especially in the older generation, where the literacy level back then was lesser compared to modern education. People were less educated and respected the teaching profession very much.

That said, you will never hear someone called a teacher by his name. He will always be respectfully addressed as “老师 Lǎoshī“. If you compare this to Western culture, you are allowed to call your teacher by his name. If you have a Chinese teacher, bear in mind never to call them by their names as this is regarded as disrespect in our culture unless they ask you to do so.

The eight traditional Chinese characters on the profile image “一日为师,终身为父 yī rì wéi shī, zhōng shēn wéi fù“, literally translated as “one day as a teacher, forever as a father“. That is to say, even if someone is your teacher for a day, you have to respect him like how you respect your father. Judging by this sentence, you would have guessed how the Chinese hold teachers in high esteem.

① School Teacher: 教师 Jiàoshī

Usually, 教师 Jiàoshī refers to a teacher in a mainstream education system. The below Chinese term 教师 Jiàoshī can be replaced by 老师 Lǎoshī too.

Kindergarten Teacher幼儿教师Yòu’ér jiàoshī
Primary School Teacher小学教师Xiǎoxué jiàoshī
Secondary School Teacher中学教师Zhōngxué jiàoshī
University Teacher大学教师Dàxué jiàoshī
University Professor大学教授Dàxué jiàoshòu
Full-Time teacher专职教师/全职教师Zhuānzhí jiàoshī / Quánzhí jiàoshī
Part-Time Teacher兼职教师Jiānzhí jiàoshī
Foreign teacher外籍教师Wàijí jiàoshī
Private Teacher家庭教师Jiātíng jiàoshī

 

② Teacher: 老师 Lǎoshī

老师 Lǎoshī is a generic name in any field of discipline. You can almost call any teacher in Chinese as your 老师 Lǎoshī. The main difference between 教师 Jiàoshī and 老师 Lǎoshī is that you cannot call your teacher as 教师 Jiàoshī when addressing them as seen from the example below:-

Teacher, I have some questions to ask you.

Χ 师,我有一些问题想请教您。
Jiàoshī, wǒ yǒu yīxiē wèntí xiǎng qǐngjiào nín.

老师,我有一些问题想请教您。
Lǎoshī, wǒ yǒu yīxiē wèntí xiǎng qǐngjiào nín.

How to Address a Chinese Teacher Correctly?

You can add the Chinese Teacher’s surname (or name) in front of 老师 Lǎoshī if you wish. 老师 Lǎoshī is gender-neutral. The proper way to address a teacher is to use the formal You – 您 Nín instead of the standard You Nǐ.

Mr/Mrs/Miss Lim, I still have questions to ask you. Are you free?

林老师,我还有问题想问您。您有空吗?
Lín lǎoshī, wǒ hái yǒu wèntí xiǎng wèn nín. Nín yǒu kòng ma?


Type of Teacher in Chinese

Here is a list of Teacher in Chinese = Subject + 老师 Lǎoshī. You also learn the Chinese terms of the subjects. Alternatively, many terms below can be replaced by 教师 Jiàoshī if the teacher comes from a mainstream school.

Chinese Teacher中文老师,华文老师,华语老师,汉语老师Zhōngwén lǎoshī, Huáwén lǎoshī, Huáyǔ lǎoshī, Hànyǔ lǎoshī
English Teacher英文老师,英语老师Yīngwén lǎoshī, Yīngyǔ lǎoshī
Science Teacher科学老师Kēxué lǎoshī
Math Teacher数学老师Shùxué ǎoshī
Accounts Teacher会计老师Kuàijì lǎoshī
Economic Teacher经济老师Jīngjì lǎoshī
Biology Teacher生物老师Shēngwù lǎoshī
Physics Teacher物理老师Wùlǐ lǎoshī
Chemistry Teacher化学老师Huàxué lǎoshī
Geography Teacher地理老师Dìlǐ lǎoshī
History Teacher历史老师Lìshǐ lǎoshī
PE Teacher体育老师Tǐyù lǎoshī
Painting Teacher绘画老师Huìhuà lǎoshī
Music Teacher音乐老师Yīnyuè lǎoshī
Piano Teacher钢琴老师Gāngqín lǎoshī
Violin Teacher小提琴老师Xiǎotíqín lǎoshī
Jazz Teacher爵士乐老师Juéshìyuè lǎoshī
Dance Teacher舞蹈老师Wǔdǎo lǎoshī
Yoga Teacher瑜伽老师Yújiā lǎoshī
Cooking Teacher烹饪老师Pēngrèn lǎoshī
Professional Teacher专业老师Zhuānyè lǎoshī
Tuition Teacher补习老师Bǔxí lǎoshī
Martial Arts Teacher武术老师Wǔshù lǎoshī




③  Mentor in Chinese – 导师 Dǎoshī

When someone plays a role in providing guidance or mentoring, the person is a mentor 导师 Dǎoshī. It can be in any field of subjects.

Instructor/Mentor导师Dǎoshī
Postgraduate Mentor研究生导师Yánjiūshēng dǎoshī
PhD Supervisor博士生导师Bóshì shēng dǎoshī
Music Mentor音乐导师Yīnyuè dǎoshi
Singing Mentor歌唱导师Gēchàng dǎoshī,
Dance Mentor舞蹈导师Wǔdǎo dǎoshī

 

Chinese Singing Contest

If you have watched the Chinese or Taiwanese singing competitions where a competitor is assigned a mentor, you will hear this term often. The TV programme is popular among Asian cultures, particularly the Chinese-speaking countries. Other than that, the term is not frequently used.

Here is a Youtube link to the most popular singing contest in China 四大战队导师歌曲串烧开场秀《中国新歌声2》 where you hear the compère repeat the word 导师 + Names of the Mentor two times within the first 2 seconds of the variety show.

④ Master: 师傅 / 师父 Shifu

师傅 Shīfù means Master in Chinese. He or She can be a teacher or perhaps not. The section on How to Say Master in Chinese will tell you more on:

  • Who are the people qualified to be called 师傅 Shīfù and 师父 Shīfu?
  • Difference between 师傅 Shīfù and 师父 Shīfu.

Check out the post!

 

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